United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential running mate Frank Mwenifumbo says, if voted into office on May 21 2019, they will ban tobacco buyers from producing the leaf, arguing the practice disadvantages smallholder farmers in the country.
Mwenifumbo feared that maintaining the existing policies where tobacco buying companies are at liberty to also produce will have negative impacts on the national economy.
“If we get elected on May 21, the fisrt thing the UDF government will do is to ban buyers from growing tobacco. This practice is depriving Malawians of their right to participate in meaningful economic activities,” he said.
Mwenifumbo made the remarks on Saturday during a whistle-stop tour in Areas 23, 24 and 36 in Lilongwe.
He said the current scenario where buyers are also involved in producing tobacco has potential to further worsen the economic livelihoods of the poor, particularly those who depend on the crop as their main source of income.
He further disclosed that UDF will come up with a deliberate procurement policy stopping government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) from procuring goods and services from businesspeople of other countries.
“We don’t want scenarios where a businessman of Asian origin would be supplying foodstuffs such as maize and beans to the Prisons Department and our hospitals. Instead, we will introduce a special fund to empower youth and women to venture into various businesses so that they can take up those contracts. Foreign investors should be given only those businesses, which are beyond our capacity; not supplying maize, which we can source locally,” he emphasised.
At this point, Mwenefumbo demanded a thorough probe into circumstances that led to the awarding of a contract to a Zimbabwean businessman to demolish Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) House in Blantyre.
He said by awarding the contract to a foreign national, the company had contravened Section 36 of the Public Procurement and Disposalof Assets (PPDA) Act.
The Act in question has 3 cardinal procurement rules, which include the giving of 15 percent of preference to Malawians in the awarding of contracts.
“ESCOM broken rules 1 and 2 of Section 36 of the PPDA Act. And therefore, thorough investigations must be instituted who influenced this decision,” he said.
The whistle-stop tour took him to Areas 23, 24 and 36 in Lilongwe.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :